21-year-old Te Ataakura Pewhairangi will be expecting her first baby anytime now and with Paid Parental Leave increasing from 14 weeks to 16 weeks, she says that’s an extra two weeks of pay she doesn’t need to worry about.
“It gives mothers the opportunity to have more time with their children knowing that our babies aren’t always going to be babies for very long,” Pewhairangi says.
The Council of Trade Unions Sam Huggard says while their workers are pleased with the recent changes made by the Government, the OECD average is 22 weeks paid parental leave which is 6 weeks more than New Zealand’s current paid-parental-leave.
“You want to move it up to 26 weeks, in part because there’s so much evidence to suggest that those first six months of bonding with a child whether it be breast-feeding and developing a secure attachment with the baby is important,” says Huggard.
Huggard also says in New Zealand the maximum weekly paid parental leave payment is currently $504.10 before tax, which is just 85% of the minimum wage.
“Our paid parental leave provisions still remains low by international standards and though there is a shift in the right direction, it is nowhere near as good as it needs to be,” says Huggard.
By next year paid-parental-leave will be extended to 18 weeks.